Pope defrocks Chilean priest accused of sexually abusing children as Vatican faces criticism over cover-ups

Monday, September 17, 2018
By Paul Martin

Reverend Cristian Precht Bañados, 77, has been dismissed from the priesthood
He was once a popular figure in Chile for his record defending human rights
But he was suspended in 2012 after sexual abuse claims were made against him

17 September 2018

Pope Francis has ordered a man accused of sexually abusing minors to be removed from the priesthood, Chilean church authorities said on Saturday.

Reverend Cristian Precht Bañados, 77, had already been suspended from priestly duties in 2012 for five years following an investigation into similar allegations.

His defrocking comes amid fresh criticism of the Catholic Church’s handling of the countless sexual abuse allegations against members of the clergy since the 1990s.

In May, all of Chile’s 34 bishops submitted their resignations over the sex abuse scandal.

Despite this, Precht’s is the first formal dismissal decreed by the Pope.

Once a popular figure in Chile, he headed the church’s office in defense of human rights in the 1970s during part of the blood-soaked dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.

In a 2013 statement, he denied ‘ever forcing anyone’s will, be it an adult or a minor, woman or man.’

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